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Wolcott, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Town of Wolcott lacked greenspace for community members to enjoy, so the Town transformed an unused space behind the local library into a new park. Dubbed Depot Park, the space includes a community garden with raised beds, as well as a public trailhead. To draw people in, volunteers installed outdoor games, solar-powered lighting, seating and free Wi-Fi access. Organizers wanted to make the park a year-round amenity, so they included a patio heater and bonfire. Additionally, the local fire department created a temporary ice-skating rink onsite. After completing the activation, the Town hosted its first community event in decades at Depot Park. Today, the library holds children's reading circles there. Plus, community members can harvest vegetables for free from the garden.

Saint Peter, MN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will convert a vacant lot into a downtown plaza and community event space, providing a gathering place for residents and visitors.

Rochester, MN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: After the City of Rochester cut its parks and recreation budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, many small parks in Rochester fell into disrepair. To address this, Family Service Rochester improved a pocket park in the City's Friendship Park neighborhood, a diverse, low-income area of the city. This project added new trees, benches and a multilingual information kiosk. A volunteer team dug holes, planted, watered and staked trees. Others chipped in to keep the park free of litter. Organizers say the project demonstrated that residents will invest their time to improve their neighborhood. After the project's completion, volunteers from the initiative were inspired to improve other parks in the area.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Chillicothe, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: A planning study revealed a lack of accessibility throughout the Chillicothe Transit System, with some riders to sit on the ground while they wait for the bus. To address this, the City stepped in the make bus stops more accommodating for riders of all ages and abilities. First, project organizers identified areas of town with high numbers of older adult transit riders and passengers with mobility challenges. Then they installed benches -- as well as swing sets -- at several bus stops. They also added bus shelters at two stops and erected new signage at more than 60 others. In the future, project organizers plan to add a mural to the pavement at the local library's bus stop. Organizers say the improvements make waiting for the bus more comfortable, which may lead to increased ridership.

Lancaster, OH

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2024

Project Category: Bike Audits

Description: Two bike audits will identify needed improvements along a path linking a high school and a community park in Fairfield. The county will share the results with city officials to guide future planning.

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